Date-Filled Semolina Shortbread November 10, 2019 – Posted in: Recipes
Imaginative cinnamon-spiced and date-filled shortbread cookies–Lebanese ma'amoul–buttery semolina pastries scented with rose and orange blossom water. The filling is usually either dates or a concoction of walnuts or pistachios. I have combined all three to create this delicious date-and-nut filling. Though they are easy to shape by hand, as I have done, it's worth seeking out a traditional ma'amoul mold to make them.
- 3 cups fine semolina flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk (almond milk may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pulse the semolina, almond flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until pea-size crumbles form. Add the milk and rose and orange blossom waters, and pulse until dough comes together. Add a bit of water if necessary to form a soft dough. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; chill for 2 hours.
In a food processor, pulse the nuts first. Add the pitted dates, butter, cinnamon, and cardamom, and process until smooth. Chill the filling for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Divide the dough into 24 balls. Working with one ball at a time, press a finger into the dough, creating a pocket. Place a teaspoon of filling into each pocket, pinch the sides to encase the filling, and roll into a ball. If you have a ma'amoul mold, press the balls into it, or flatten slightly using your palm. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool and sift with a touch of powdered sugar before serving.